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Urban exploration in Hyboria (part two)


The city of Kehmi (continued):
Unlike in Tortage, the building designs used here have very few reliable footholds and explorers wishing to reach the rooftops will have to get creative. Spikes sticking out of the walls are usually unable to be stood upon and the helpful-looking ladders strewn about the rooftops are not climbable. Cloth overhangs above windows, however, will support your character perfectly well and make some unlikely routes possible.

Top finds:
Plenty of strange or useful locations can be found when exploring. The city of Khemi is home to some strange structures never intended for people to see. Here I observed houses half buried in mud and with no visible entrance points, stairways leading to nowhere, buildings I could walk through, strange lights and invisible walls. Tortage is a much more explorer-friendly town, featuring ways to get atop the city walls, a giant boathouse tavern whose roof can be reached and some spectacular spots for hidden meeting places. Hyboria's other cities may hold more interesting finds.

Despite its failings, one thing Age of Conan did well was providing breathtaking landscapes. Unfortunately for most players, being stuck at ground level severely limits the opportunity to see some of the game's most awesome sights. From the rooftops, unique views of the game's stunning cityscape are possible. The river Styx and its overlooking citadels in the distance are an amazing sight from the rooftops of Khemi. From above the height of Tortage's inner city walls, the city morphs into an almost organic entity. Buildings appear to be weaved around the inside of the valley, clasping onto any free space they can use.

When I got bored with quests and monsters, I looked for ways to make my own fun in Age of Conan. In addition to urban exploration and city climbing, I found that by switching off the user interface entirely, the game became a beautiful outdoors exploration simulator. From the cities to the swamps, I found myself roaming around taking screenshots as if I were a nature photographer. With a few like-minded friends from the Thulsa Goons guild, I trekked around the swamps of Stygia and the valley surrounding Tortage, taking screenshots of whatever I found. We reached the highest mountaintops possible, leaping off to our deaths just to get a few good screenshots on the way down.

Like many players who joined the initial rush into Age of Conan, I didn't stay past the first month. In my final days, however, I discovered completely new and fun ways to play the game. Reaching the rooftops of Hyboria gave me unique views of Age of Conan that most players will never see first hand and to an explorer, there's nothing better than that. In my last days in Hyboria, Tortage became my playground and its buildings my swings and roundabouts. Give it a try yourself, find out what awesome sights you can see and what incredible heights you can reach. The skybox is the limit!

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